International Enterprise (IE) Singapore today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to help more Singapore companies access in-depth market insights and financing opportunities in emerging markets of Africa, Southeast Asia and South Asia. The World Bank is forecasting the growth of emerging markets to reach 4.1% this year, driving their demand for infrastructure to meet economic and social needs.
Combining IE Singapore’s wide network of 13 overseas centres across Africa and Asia, with IFC’s deep financing knowledge and expertise in these markets, both will co-host market-focused workshops for Singapore companies, sharing insights on potential business opportunities, financing landscapes and financing partners. These workshops will enable Singapore companies to engage IFC officials who are covering the regions. As part of this collaboration, IFC will also leverage Singapore’s position as a regional infrastructure hub, for example, by hosting pre-bid meetings for Asian infrastructure projects.
The MOU will reinforce IE Singapore’s efforts to develop Singapore as an infrastructure hub, hosting activities such as project development, structuring, and financing, catalysing project opportunities for Singapore companies to meet the infrastructure needs in our region and beyond.
Said Ms. Kathy Lai, IE Singapore’s Deputy Chief Executive, “IE Singapore’s partnership with IFC aims to drive growth in emerging markets in Asia and Africa as well as to enhance economic integration within the regions. This close engagement with IFC will open more doors for Singapore companies to capture infrastructure project opportunities and provide them with in-depth market and financing insights to break into the markets.”
The expansion of Singapore’s companies into emerging markets will help them diversify their sources of growth, and bring much needed capital and expertise into these markets. IFC’s new development finance strategy, or IFC 3.0, is anchored around the two pillars of creating markets and mobilizing private capital. With this strategic framework based on new financial tools and approaches, IFC places the private sector at the heart of development—not only to raise more capital but to drive innovation and lower cost. Singapore’s private sector is well positioned to help IFC unlock additional financing for global development challenges such as infrastructure. In FY17 alone, IFC lent close to US$650 million to Singapore companies.
“As a leading emerging markets investor, IFC helps build strong local businesses which contribute significantly to employment, growth, competitiveness, and productivity” said IFC’s Director for East Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Vivek Pathak. “IFC’s partnership with IE Singapore aligns with IFC’s strategy to create new markets and work with governments to unlock potential for private sector investments at a greater scale.”
With over 60 years of working with the private sector, IFC offers long-term financing, sector expertise, and an established track record in developing infrastructure projects in Asia and Africa. In FY17, IFC committed US$9.3 billion in long-term investment in Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The MOU is part of IE Singapore’s continued efforts in helping Singapore companies to capture overseas projects. Within the past year, IFC has secured financing for Singapore-based companies including Sembcorp Industries to provide reliable supply of electricity in Bangladesh and Myanmar. In 2016, IFC also provided a US$175 million loan to Singapore-based agribusiness firm Olam International to support the company’s food-processing facilities in Nigeria and India, increasing food crop production to feed over four million people.
The MOU was signed by IE Singapore’s Group Director for Ecosystem Development, Ms Gina Lim and IFC’s Country Manager for Singapore, Ms Rana Karadsheh, and witnessed by the Guest-of-Honour, Mr. Png Cheong Boon, Second Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Trade and Industry. Other witnesses included Mr. Seah Moon Ming, IE Singapore’s Chairman, Ms. Kathy Lai, IE Singapore’s Deputy CEO, Mr. Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Vice President, New Business, and Mr. Vivek Pathak, IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific. The MOU was signed at the side-lines of the World Bank Group Business Opportunities Forum co-organised by IE Singapore and the World Bank Group this morning. Over 100 senior executives from 65 companies attended the Forum.